Baldev Singh Dhillon and Raj Kumar
PUNJAB is dealing with an alarming scenario with respect to groundwater assets. Within the report, Groundwater Sources of Punjab — as on March 31, 2017, ready by the Central Floor Water Board and Water Sources & Atmosphere Directorate of Punjab, it’s highlighted in pink, “If the current price of extraction continues, the accessible groundwater assets might exhaust in 20 to 25 years.”
India confronted extreme meals scarcity through the 1950s and 1960s. Within the second half of the 1960s, high-yielding sorts of wheat and paddy and their complementary production-protection know-how packages turned accessible. The federal government formulated a landmark coverage of fixing the MSP and procurement of the produce, and took many different initiatives for nationwide meals safety. These developments gave an impetus to paddy cultivation in Punjab. From 1965-66 to 2019-20, the world underneath paddy elevated 10.7 occasions (2.93 to 31.41 lakh hectares) and the manufacturing 43.1 occasions (4.39 to 189.12 lakh tonnes) in Punjab. Throughout the identical interval, the variety of tubewells elevated from 26,000 to 14.76 lakh and the cropping depth from 129% to 190% because of intensive agriculture. With these developments, Punjab turned the meals bowl of the nation and helped the nation to not solely turn into food-secure but in addition an exporter. This was, nevertheless, accompanied by some challenges of which depletion of groundwater assets is probably the most severe one.
To deal with this example, short-duration paddy varieties and water-saving applied sciences, notably laser land levelling and tar-wattar DSR (direct seeding of rice), have been developed. The state authorities additionally issued/handed an ordinance/Act in 2008-09 to make sure the transplanting of paddy after a notified date. These interventions, accompanied by campaigns on groundwater-saving, did decelerate the speed of water depletion however didn’t totally verify the identical. Thus, there may be an pressing must create extra consciousness among the many plenty on this regard. With this goal, financial returns from the cropping system in two areas of the state having an analogous cropping system however a contrasting groundwater desk state of affairs is being introduced.
Throughout 2018, the bottom groundwater desk was noticed in Sangrur district (32.Four metres) adopted by its neighbouring Barnala district (29.7 metres). These districts additionally occupied the highest positions for the speed of fall of groundwater desk between 1998 and 2018. These districts, having paddy as the primary kharif season crop accounting for about 91% of the world, have been chosen to signify probably the most threatened area so far as the annual fall of groundwater stage and its depth are involved and designated as Area-I (R-I). For comparability, two different contiguous districts recognized are Amritsar and Tarn Taran, representing a area contrasting with R-I on the groundwater state of affairs however having an analogous cropping system (92% of kharif space underneath paddy). These districts are designated as Area-II (R-II). The common annual price of water desk fall in R-II (1998 to 2018) was virtually half (43-57 cm) than that in R-I (103-107 cm).
Ten different districts having the next groundwater desk than Amritsar-Tarn Taran have been excluded from the evaluation (the exclusion of those districts is mentioned intimately in PAU’s month-to-month journal Progressive Farming, April 2020).
Paddy and wheat are the predominant crops occupying about 90% of the cultivated space in each areas. Basmati was cultivated in about 7% and 56% of the kharif space in R-I and R-II, respectively. The varietal sample of wheat and basmati is analogous in each areas however within the case of parmal, there’s a distinction. In R-I, long-duration paddy varieties (Pusa 44, Peeli Pusa) have been cultivated on about 55% of the parmal space and the short-duration varieties (PR 121, PR 126 and PR 124) on solely 21% of the world. In R-II, the shorter-duration varieties occupied 77% of the world and Pusa 44 merely 0.4%.
Pusa 44 matures in about 160 days after seeding and Peeli Pusa takes one week extra. Then again, PR 121 and PR 126, the preferred amongst short-duration varieties, mature in 140 and 123 days, respectively, and PR 124 matures in 135 days. These short-duration varieties want 15-25% lesser irrigations than Pusa 44. There’s additionally saving in pesticides and labour.
Farmers in R-I are most likely attracted by the upper yield of long-duration varieties. Although the yields of PR 121, PR 124 and PR 126 are marginally decrease than that of Pusa 44, the online revenue from shorter and longer-duration varieties is comparable. Paddy straw administration of short-duration varieties is simpler as they produce lesser biomass. By vacating the sector earlier in addition they widen the window between paddy harvesting and wheat sowing. Additional, farmers cultivating long-duration varieties are additionally incurring further expenditure on deepening and putting in submersible pumps. With the farmers not having to pay for electrical energy, the state bears the large bills. Above all, the underground water reservoir is being depleted which can’t be simply replenished.
The common yield of wheat, parmal paddy and basmati is greater by 893, 406 and 451 kg per hectare, respectively, in R-I than in R-II. Thus, evidently, the online revenue can be greater in R-I. The annual returns are greater by greater than Rs 20,000 per hectare in R-I than in R-II. One could also be tempted to attribute the upper yield of parmal in R-I to long-duration varieties. The common yield of wheat and basmati can be greater in R-I, though there isn’t any considerable distinction within the varietal sample in each areas. So, the upper yield should be as a result of beneficial agro-climatic circumstances in R-I. Subsequently, by adopting short-duration varieties, the returns will proceed to be greater in R-I than these in R-II.
The conservation of underground water assets is extra badly wanted in R-I than in R-II. Thus, there may be an pressing want that the farmers in R-I mustn’t solely domesticate shorter-duration varieties but in addition transplant parmal after the notified date. We, the individuals of Punjab, notably the opinion-makers, should realise that there’s a must resort to every follow of water conservation as this area is dangerously positioned. For this, campaigns needs to be repeatedly organised for larger consciousness; in any other case, we’re inviting desertification.
It’s the responsibility of all to preserve the wealthy, inherited pure useful resource base. It’s an funding for the survival of the farming system not just for the longer term generations but in addition for the current era. With the current practices of groundwater extraction, the accessible groundwater assets of Punjab might exhaust in 20 to 25 years. Allow us to be part of arms to fulfill the problem of conserving water assets by their even handed use.
The authors are V-C and Principal Extension Scientist (agricultural economics), respectively, PAU, Ludhiana